Businesses in Cape Town’s central business district can now access the city’s fibre network, with service provider RSAWeb the first to offer access.
RSAWeb is offering connections of between 25Mbit/s and 1Gbit/s using the city’s fibre infrastructure and hopes that once businesses have embraced the project it may be able to extend it to high-density residential locations, too.
MD Rob Gilmour says the company has connected its two Cape Town data centres to the fibre network, meaning businesses can connect to and route their traffic through either one.
“This, coupled with speeds from 25Mbit/s to 1Gbit/s, means it’s not just a connectivity play but also a way for businesses in the CBD to rethink their IT strategies,” Gilmour says.
“Previously, it may have been too costly to think about moving entire onsite infrastructure into a data centre or the cloud due to the high cost of connectivity, this is no longer the case.”
RSAWeb has been testing the service with two clients over the past month and is now ready to take it to market.
For now, access to fibre is available only to businesses located in the City Bowl, but Gilmour says the project will be expanded to the suburbs of Bellville and Claremont in coming months.
Pricing depends on the distance from the switching centre to the premises of the business and typically ranges from R2 500 to R10 000/month.
Gilmour says RSAWeb’s pricing is “very reasonable” when compared to other fibre products “Companies don’t necessarily spend less when they move to fibre, but they use more data. With a 50Mbit/s or 100Mbit/s connection, you can change your business. You can outsource everything.”
The City of Cape Town’s model is to connect its own buildings rather than buying fibre from Telkom. Instead of building only one sleeve for fibre, it has installed multiple sleeves and is encouraging Internet service providers to resell access to that infrastructure to offset its installation costs.
According to Gilmour, the project is part of Cape Town’s plans to position itself as a “high bandwidth area” in order to attract new businesses and help existing ones grow.
RSAWeb also wants to connect apartments that have sprung up in the CBD in recent years. “Fibre to the home is definitely something we’re looking at,” Gilmour says. “Anyone who is within 300 metres of the network can be connected to it, and it’s relatively inexpensive to do so. The trick is, who’s paying for it? At R2 500/month, it’s probably out of the range of most people.
“Our model is a traditional corporate connectivity model, but we also have a broadband model which will play out when we have a point of presence in a building, as in the case of mixed-use buildings. A corporate customer in a building can play out the residential model with ADSL-style pricing.”
However, Gilmour warns that apartment residents will have to wait until a large number of businesses in the area have signed on. “We have to go after the big wins first but, once those are up and running, then there will be the opportunity to grow the project in other ways.” — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media